Is there anything better than curling up with a good novel when the post-holiday doldrums hit? The frenzy has subsided, the parties have passed, and the world seems to slow down just a bit—a perfect moment to indulge in books that seem designed to be read in quiet, cozy winter.
Of course, the only thing standing in the way of you and an absorbing diversion is finding the book. To get you started, I polled the lit-loving Camille Styles team to help you find just the right fit for a cozy winter read. Below, you’ll discover engrossing novels, best-selling memoirs, one steamy vampiric romance, and words of wisdom that might be just what you need at the start of a New Year.
So grab a cup of Earl Grey and curl up by a fire, settle into a sun-soaked nook, or shut out the world wherever you find yourself with some of our favorite wintertime reads.
Scroll through our editors’ picks for the best books to read this winter.
Feature image by Michelle Nash for Camille Styles.
The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: I first heard about this book in Tim Ferris’s interview with Diana Chapman, who said it was the book she most often gave as a gift to other people. My curiosity was piqued, and little did I know that this book would hit me at just the right moment. I had been trying to go to the next level in various aspects of my professional life, but I didn’t know how to tackle the barriers that were preventing me from getting there. In short, this book is about identifying the limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of making our dreams come true. If you’re trying to find some direction in your life, business, or any big decision, the principles that Hendricks teaches might be as transformational for you as they have been for me. — Camille Styles, Editor-in-Chief
Conversations on Love, by Natasha Lunn
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: Oh, another book about love. I’m a sucker for any book that dissects the idea and feeling of love, and this book might be one of my favorite takes on the subject. Natasha Lunn approached the book with the goal of understanding how relationships work and how they change and grow over a lifetime. She highlights authors and experts to learn about their experiences in addition to sharing her own. She often asks the questions I ask myself: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it? The stories are full of real human stories, that left me feeling hopeful and full of joy. Plus, I love that I can read each chapter individually and they all stand alone with lessons and wisdom. Get the highlighter, because there are a lot of good nuggets in here. — Suruchi Avasthi, Food Editor
Raising Worry-Free Girls, by Sissy Goff
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: I’ve recommended this book to every parent of daughters I know. It’s no secret that girls today are facing stress and anxiety on a new level, and as a parent, it can be daunting to know how to best support them. Through these pages, Goff offers practical advice on how you can instill bravery and strength in your daughter, helping her understand why her brain is often working against her when she starts to worry and what she can do to fight back. I’m so grateful for this guidebook as Phoebe enters her tween years. — Camille Styles, Editor-in-Chief
Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: For months, I’ve been dying to find the time to read this book. I’m only a few chapters in, but the memoir from musician Michelle Zauner is already proving to be a fast favorite. Perhaps known best as the frontwoman for the dreamy indie band Japanese Breakfast, the Korean-American artist shares the story of losing her mother to cancer, which also meant losing the strongest tie to her Korean culture. There is immediate crying in H Mart, the supermarket chain that specializes in authentic Asian food. As Zauner explores the connection between cooking and identity, there are also gorgeous food descriptions, particularly of bubbling soups and spicy pastes that would absolutely hit the spot on one of these cold winter days. I’m prepared to cry myself as I continue reading, but I know I’m in good hands with Zauner. — Caitlin Clark, Contributing Editor
Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: There’s plenty of wit and wisdom woven into Lily King’s bestselling novel. The writing is intelligent but personal, and as the reader, you feel fully immersed in the narrative. The novel follows 31-year-old Casey Peabody, who’s just lost her mother unexpectedly. She works nights in a restaurant while struggling to finish her first novel that she’s been working on for the past few years. Casey’s a bit of a hot mess, but an incredibly sympathetic and relatable protagonist. I’ve never felt more motivated to pursue my dreams, and though there are plenty of ups and downs throughout, the ending is uplifting and optimistic. — Isabelle Eyman, Contributing Editor
Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: The true story of what happens when one woman seemingly has it all (the great job, happy family, and bright future), and out of nowhere, a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis enters the picture. Far from being a downer, however, Bowler’s memoir peels back the lies we tell ourselves that get in the way of truly living—and in those realizations, aliveness takes on a whole new beauty. I finished this book feeling inspired and grateful, both for this life I’ve been given as well as truth-tellers like Bowler who share their stories with such honesty. — Camille Styles, Editor-in-Chief
Midnight Sun, by Stephenie Meyer
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: I just finished re-watching the entire Twilight series—I know, I know, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure and there are some cringe moments, but who doesn’t love a tense, vampire story? (Now I want to rewatch the True Blood series!) I binged all of the Twilight books in 2008 after my son was born and just before the first film was released. As a new mom, it was the escape I needed from the sleepless nights and groundhog day-esque cycle of breastfeeding, burping, diaper changing, play, sleep, repeat (all new parents reading this can relate!). I was hooked! Since finishing the Twilight movies again, I am now inspired to re-read all of the books until I discovered the author, Stephanie Meyer had released a book from Edward’s perspective in 2020. As a Twi-hard and #teamedward forever fan, I don’t know how I didn’t hear about it then but hey, in my defense, it was peak global pandemic!
I finally bought the book recently along with my mom (yes, we’re going to read it together). I haven’t finished the book yet, and without giving too much away, unsurprisingly this book offers a darker spin on Bella’s more innocent perspective. So far, I love learning more about Edward’s past, and getting inside his head, seeing everything through a vampire’s lens is intriguing to say the least. And I just love how easy Stephanie’s books are to read—despite being 672 pages, this one won’t take long. — Sacha Strebe, Deputy Editor
Vegan, At Times, by Jessica Seinfeld
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: Okay, okay… a cookbook! When most women I know are curled up next to the fire devouring their fiction thrillers and steamy romance novels, I am always the one who’d rather spend her free time drooling over food images and recipes. As a holiday gift to myself, I purchased Jessica Seinfeld’s newest cookbook, Vegan, At Times, and her easy-to-follow, minimalist, meat-free recipes are my new weeknight fave. Think: stuffed sweet potatoes with cabbage slaw and peanut dressing, creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, and easy-breezy chocolate-dipped oranges. A hundred percent vegan, zero percent pretension. — Anne Campbell, Contributing Editor
Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America, by Mayukh Sen
What It’s About and Why I Recommend It: I love any and all books that deep dive into food, and this book—a group biography—honors seven incredible immigrant women who have made an impact on the way we eat in America today. The stories include Mexican-born Elena Zelayeta, a blind chef; Marcella Hazan, the deity of Italian cuisine; and Norma Shirley, a champion of Jamaican dishes. The way Sen shares the histories of these women’s stories through the lens of food really opened my eyes to a history that I was unaware of, but am now in awe of. If you enjoy cooking as much as I do, this was such an important read in understanding the history of cooking, while also centering the stories of women and their contributions to food today. — Suruchi Avasthi, Food Editor